Almost every mobile operating system has an application store: Nokia has Ovi Store, Apple – iTunes App Store, Android – Android Market and Microsoft has Windows Marketplace for Windows Phone. Some time ago I’ve got idea that it would be nice that Windows 8 (or whatever next version of Windows OS will be called) would have some sort of centralized application store. And I see a lot of advantages of having this kind of store.
Users can easily manage their software
Of course it’s already easy enough for users to manage and remove their software by using “Programs and Features” tool from Control Panel. However, many Linux fans often mention package managers as one of the main Linux advantages against Windows. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to use one centralized tool to find, download, run and remove applications on Windows? It would be even more cool to be able to automatically update all installed software. That would allow to increase security of the system, since nowadays many home users are too lazy to update their software manually. I would like to have a backup function in this tool, too. Just image this: you are going to reinstall your operating system. Before doing that, you click “Backup” button and list with all your software and their settings is saved. After you reinstall Windows, all you have to do is open this software manager (store) and click “Restore” button. That’s it. You now have latest versions of the software you had before and the settings you used before.
Users would be assured about software quality
As same as it is in all current mobile applications stores, this Windows store I imagine should also require all applications to go through some kind of certification process. Therefore, when a user downloads application, he will be sure that the program is safe and will work on this system. Currently, when users are looking software via search engines, they often can find them on malicious sites.
It would be easier to buy software
If it would be possible to buy most software using centralized system, it would be much easier for users to do that. Nowadays, when user wants to buy a program, he needs to find out how to do that, how does he can pay for it and so on. While seeing prices of mobile applications, it would definitely be nice to see similar prices in this Windows application store. Of course, many desktop applications are more complicated then mobile, but I guess it would be better for developers to sell 10000 copies of their program for 30$ instead of only 10 copies for 3000$. That might decrease piracy in some countries, too.
While looking from the perspective of some smaller developers, that kind of store would be useful for them too. Currently, if you are a developer and you create some application, you have to take care of a lot of things and not programming only. Firstly, you will need to inform people about your program therefore you probably will have to create a web page for the application. If you would like to receive feedback from your users, you will have to create some feedback system (comments, forum, guest book etc.) on your page. And what if you are planning to make money from your application? Then you will have to build trial/licenses system for your applications and take care of all buying and activation process. If Windows store I imagine would exist, you wouldn’t need to take care about any of the things I mentioned before. When you upload your application here, users would see it in the store’s list of newest applications. They could see description, screenshots and leave feedback for your application, too. For your paid applications you could use already existing API that would allow you to easily limit features, trial time and add ads to your application.
I know that for some of you my idea could look hardly implementable. I understand myself that everything might not be very easy to implement. Firstly, there might be problems with some big software vendors and their applications like Adobe Suite, AutoCad, CorelDraw etc because they might not want to add their products to this Windows application store. Secondly, there might be a lot of discussions about the part of revenue from the the sold application that goes to Microsoft. There also might be some difficulties supporting this application store and paying for applications in all countries. Despite those problems, I would really would like to see this kind of applications store in next version of Windows. This tool would allow to simplify home users work with computer even more, increase revenue of Microsoft and independent developers and maybe decrease level of piracy.